It's Vital that People Feel Safe and at Ease in the Digital Economy

29 may 2019 | Russia 24

The Head of the Analytical Center Vladislav Onishchenko appeared on Russia 24's Senate Programme to talk about how the digital economy is penetrating our lives, what metrics are used to measure the success of this process, what changes are required in existing laws and regulations and how the labor market is responding to the digitization process.

Vladislav Onishchenko
Vladislav Onishchenko

As the adoption of digital technologies continues apace the entire sectors of the economies are changing the way they operate and revamping their business processes, Mr Onischenko noted. Transport, retail logistics, financial services and industrial production were the first to ride the wave of digitization. According to the expert, one notable example is taxis which you can now call in one click on your smartphone. Some serious changes have occurred in passenger transport: paper tickets and passes are now a thing of the past and all passengers have to do now is show their ID and all the relevant data get pulled automatically from the carrier's database. State governance did away with paperwork first in the multifunctional centers and now we're seeing a transition to online provision of government services.

It goes without saying that some quantitative measures are need to assess these qualitative changes. "The president's May decree listed the indicators that are important for the economy and the social sector. One of them is broadband internet coverage for 100% of households, something that you won't find anywhere in the world at this point," Mr Onischenko said, adding that there were similar requirements for industrial companies and the state sector. "Another important indicator is the degree to which the relations between the public and the state are digitized, the goal for the near future is 80% digitization."

Legislation must keep pace and ideally even anticipate these processes. "A big legal framework must be created so we can feel protected and confident in order to effectively operate in the digital world," Mr Onischenko said. There are at least two very important initiatives in this area. First we need to protect privacy and that means we need a law on depersonalization of all user data. The second issue is how to enable people to perform legally binding actions digitally, i.e. it is the issue of the status of digital signatures, how legally binding they are and how easy they are to use. We need to get these issues sorted so people can feel safe and use the new capabilities of the digital economy without unnecessary hassle."

The transition to a digital economy goes hand in hand with the issue of keeping it supplied with skilled labor. Mr Onischenko believes that the needs for skilled labor are currently being met but the future developments that can be already anticipated today suggest that a fundamental revamping is needed in state high school university and post university education if we are to keep up.

The expert noted 2 aspects in this regard. First, international studies suggest that the hypothesis that the digitization of the economy renders more people jobless than it creates jobs is most likely not true. The sectors of the economy that introduce digital technologies and related sectors create more jobs than they do away with. Second, a digital economy expands employment options for the elderly because the demand for new skills creates a shortage of skilled labor and this new demand can be met by anyone who's willing to learn new skills regardless of their age. 

Source: Russia 24